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Local government has a key role in tackling the social blight of...
Local government has a key role in tackling the social blight of

litter, graffiti and the fear of crime Barbara Roche, minister for

social exclusion and equality, told a conference on street management


Speaking at the New Local Government Network (NLGN) conference 'The

Liveability Agenda: Working Towards Joined-Up Street Management', the

minister urged people to respond to government consultation on

changes to the legislative framework that affects the way public

spaces are designed, managed and maintained.

Barbara Roche said:

'Successful, thriving and prosperous communities are characterised

by streets, parks and open spaces that are clean, safe, attractive -

areas that local people are proud of and want to spend their time.

Tackling failure, such as litter, graffiti, fly-tipping, abandoned

cars, dog fouling, the loss of play areas or footpaths, is for many

people the top public service priority.

'Government can and will take the lead but the solutions will

invariably be local. We need to give local leaders and

decision-makers the power to get the job done. We will set targets

for improvements. We will also provide sources of advice and

expertise to help get the job done. Those responsible will know what

action they should take to deliver the cleaner, safer and greener

public spaces that everyone has a right to expect.'

The options for reforming legislation were set out in Living Places -

Powers, Rights, Responsibilities, launched at the recent Urban

Summit (see here).

This should, said Barbara Roche, facilitate a simplified and

clarified legislative framework and should ensure that not only do

those authorities with the duties and remit to take action know where

they stand but that the public will know what recourse they have if

they are not satisfied.

A detailed report and review of the presen t state of Britain's public

spaces was set out in a sister publication, Living Places - Cleaner,

Safer, Greener, that identified best practice across the country and

the importance of local environmental quality to creating inclusive

and sustainable communities.

Barbara Roche told delegates at the NLGN conference:

'The forthcoming communities' plan will set out the government's

vision for the 'communities of the future' and good quality public

space will feature as a crucial part of this agenda. The plan will

include key points and a clear plan of action to make this a



The Living Places documents draw upon work done during the course

of an Inter-departmental review of programmes and policies that

affect the public realm that formed part of Spending Review 2002.

This is the first time that central government has sought to take

such an approach to such policies.

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